Baby may be, well, a little funny-looking
His head may be smooshed from his journey through the birth canal, and he might be sporting a "bodysuit" of fine hair called lanugo. He could also be puffy-faced and have eyes that are often shut (and a little gooey). After all, he just spent nine months in the womb. But pretty soon, he'll resemble that beautiful baby you imagined.
If it's kept dry, it falls off faster -- usually within two weeks. Besides, newborns don't get very dirty! If the cord does get wet, pat it dry. And if the stump bleeds a little when the cord falls off, that's okay, too.
Some parents are terrified by the opening in the skull, also called the fontanel, which allows baby to maneuver out of the birth canal. But there is no need to worry to touch it: It's okay to touch the soft spot and baby's hair near it,
Baby needs to eat every two to three hours -- but if you're nursing, it's tough to know how much milk she's getting. The baby's weight is the best indicator in the early days. Your pediatrician will check it within a few days of discharge. A newborn loses 5 to 8 percent of her birthweight within the first week but should gain it back by the second. Diaper-counting can also act as a gauge.
Initially, he may be soft and silky, but that changes. If you soaked yourself in liquid for nine months and then hit the air, you'd be dry too! You don't have to do anything about dry skin (it typically peels and flakes off), but if you're so inclined, reach for a hypoallergenic baby lotion that is fragrance-free. Little pink bumps, diaper rashes, and even baby acne may also make an appearance. So get those cute newborn pics before one month!
Lead a normal life, but use common sense when you go out in public. Keep baby out of the sun, and avoid sick people (no toddler birthday parties!) and crowded enclosed spaces (such as the mall during the holidays). Teach older siblings to touch baby's feet instead of her hands and face, which will help prevent the spread of infection. And make your older child the hygiene police. He'll love telling guests, "Don't touch the baby without washing your hands."
Their piercing wails will let you know they're hungry, cold, have a dirty diaper, or want to be held. These early "conversations" can be frustrating, but rest assured, you'll get a better handle on what she needs in time.